PhyscoHunt's Journal

Journal archives for January 2020

January 07, 2020

PhyscoHunt 2019 summary

Greetings, physcohunters!


All the PhyscoHunt observations as of January 2020

After several months, we were due for an update to all the followers of the projects and the many enthusiast bryo-lovers who contributed with some Physcomitrium samples during 2019. We are very thankful for the reception of the campaign and the 71 members of the projects so far. We had several intense months with many of you contacting us for identifications or to share your samples and as we move forward and think about the 2020 campaign, we want to share a short recap of how things have been going in the labs once we received your mosses.

During 2019 we have received 61 Physcomitrium samples from 26 PhyscoHunt contributors, and we are grateful to every single one of them! It has been exciting to know of so many naturalists paying more close attention to mosses around them. Most of these samples were collected in North America. We have received samples from 15 states (Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia), plus some samples from Canada, France, and the UK!

We were very impressed by how carefully many of you shipped your samples. Remember to include with as much detail as possible all the locality information!


Dr. Patel (UConn) examining some PhyscoHunt samples and propagating moss cultures

Upon reception we transfer the samples to acid-free packages to voucher them and we examine their content to confirm the ID. Most frequently, when the samples are sent according to the training guidelines, they contain capsules full of spores that are ready for culture. We have realized, though, that some capsules opened during the shipment, so we might update the flyer sometime soon to clarify better the right stage for collecting samples. In a future update we will include some extra information on how to send your samples to ensure that the spores stay viable (we have learned a few things about how to maximize success).

We sterilize the spores in a 1% bleach solution in water to make sure that no bacteria or fungi are present, and then we inoculate Petri dishes with those spores. We keep them like this until they reach enough development to be transferred to soil.

From your backyard to our labs!

Each sample contains a reference number so we can track back the information of that strain to your individual collection. After some time growing on Petri dishes, we transfer the moss tissue to soil containers, where they grow up to completion of their life cycle. At different stages of this process we use the tissue for genomic studies, flow cytometry, or generation of polyploid mutants. We also ship samples of these cultures among the different institutions of the project (From the University of Connecticut to Augustana College and Texas Tech).

Containers with Physcomitrium cultures on soil. In these closed containers they continue their development and they can be used for the different research purposes.

How are we doing so far? We have about 110 different active Physcomitrium strains, including those that we have received thanks to the PhyscoHunt contributors. This has been definitely very helpful and we hope you also feel excited to see your local goblet mosses being part of our project. In a future update we will be more specific about our objectives and priority areas for the 2020 season. Stay tuned!

Posted on January 07, 2020 06:59 PM by rmedina rmedina | 8 comments | Leave a comment